Go and do thou likewise

July 29, 2011 in Question of the Week, Spotlight Answers, What is your reaction to the massacre in Norway? by Bob McBride

The bombing in downtown Oslo and the shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital were intended to start a revolution to inspire Norwegians to retake their country from Muslims and other immigrants, the suspect said.

What was your reaction, and given the heated rhetoric on Muslims and multiculturalism in this country, what are your thoughts on preventing such acts here?

“Go and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37) was the Lord’s admonition to the lawyer in the Parable of the Good Samaritan; as he asked the Savior “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (v. 25).  The lawyer got it right the first time when he answered the Savior, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (v. 27) The Lord gave a very brief answer  which should have sufficed; “ Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (v. 28) but the unsatisfied lawyer sought to “justify himself, and said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” (v. 29) The Lord makes it clear that we are to love all people regardless of race or religion. Are we not all God’s children?

The Bible is full of counsel to love our neighbor, to love our enemies and to love those who dispitefully use us. It is a Gospel of love and peace, not one of hate or anger.

A healthy respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all the world’s faiths is one of the hallmarks of Mormonism. From the earliest days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith elevated the principle of religious liberty and tolerance: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Articles of Faith 1:11).

Religious freedom is a constitutional right given to all men in this great country. We must respect others’ rights to worship as they see fit. While we can never prevent such acts as we witnessed this week in Norway because men have their agency to make their own decisions, right or wrong. Certainly, if all embraced a pure love of Christ, according to Christian beliefs, or the love of the Supreme Being they worship, there wouldn’t be room in our hearts for hatred. The most liberating action we can take is to free ourselves of any type of hatred, anger, or ill feelings we have towards any individual or religious body who seeks to do good.

The leader of the Mormon faith, Thomas Monson called for more religious understanding: “I would encourage members of the Church wherever they may be to show kindness and respect for all people everywhere. The world in which we live is filled with diversity. We can and should demonstrate respect toward those whose beliefs differ from ours” (April 2008 General Conference address). Latter-day Saints accept all sincere believers as equals in the pursuit of faith and in the great work of serving humanity.